§ This is an old link but for some reason it was going around on FB yesterday (prolly because everyone is still recovering from the holidays): photos from Steve Sherman’s 1970 visit to the Marvel offices. Perhaps the most interesting thing to me is that the above shot of a production wall doesn’t look *too* much different from the last time I visited a comics office (which was a while ago.) Okay the phone is different and there is no computer, but the wall of covers is a tradition that has lasted nearly 50 years.
Plus the classic (Gaspar Saladino designed?) logos are being repurposed to this day as well. (h/t: Steve Geppi)
§ The best ofs are dwindling into the mists, but here’s Autostraddle’s The 10 Best Comics of 2016.
§ Another old link, but always relevant: Nick Hanover takes a look at Martha Washington, the comic by Frank MIller and Dave Gibbons that’s as good as anything else they ever did but doesn’t get quite as much love for some reason.
Despite being an extremely successful commercial work, and arguably the series that really put Dark Horse on the map as a home for adventurous comics creators bored with the Big Two, the Martha Washington epic is curiously underrepresented in comics criticism, generally liked but not held in anywhere near as much esteem as the creators’ other contemporary works. The character of Martha Washington will occasionally pop up in lists about strong women characters, or POC representation, or bleak sci-fi, but it’s treated as almost a footnote in the careers of Miller and Gibbons. For Gibbons, it serves as a personal and ambitious attempt to stand outside the shadow of Watchmen before the artist shifted towards more commercially inclined series. For Miller, it’s the exact line of demarcation between his classic Formalist Auteur Era (Daredevil, Dark Knight Returns, Ronin) and his hyper masculine Abstraction Auteur Era (Sin City, 300, Holy Terror). Martha Washington is the most human character Frank Miller ever wrote and the last time you can see him caring about a character more than experimentation and style, and not coincidentally it’s one of the last times he would share basically equal creative autonomy with someone
§ Robyn Chapman has put out the call for the 2016 Micro-Press Survey so hop to it.
§ Rob Salkowitz has more on the real reasons behind the volunteers who must pay to volunteer: those pesky labor laws:
The main issue here is a straightforward matter of labor law that has always been on the books but hasn’t really been observed or enforced until recently regarding conventions. And that is: when commercial businesses employ people to do a job, they have to pay them. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, all employees of a business must be paid a minimum wage (currently $7.25 at the Federal level and higher in many states), and those who qualify must also be paid overtime. There are some exemptions, including one for “Seasonal Amusement or Recreational Establishments,” but conventions are specifically not considered under this definition.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.